Nov 03, 2021 News
…Pres. Ali goes to COP26 calling on world leaders to end fossil fuel subsidies
Kaieteur News – Pledging to reduce the country’s carbon emissions by 70 percent by 2030, Head of State, President Irfaan Ali, in his address to the United Nations 26th Conference of Parties (COP26) underway in Glasgow, Scotland, has called on the developed world to end subsidies for fossil fuel production.
This, even as Guyana continues to grapple with the repercussions of its Exploration and Production (E&P) activities, primarily through an ExxonMobil-led consortia offshore Guyana, and the consequences of what has been heavily criticized by both government and opposition as being a lopsided contract, with experts pointing to subsidies granted locally, even though indirectly.
These subsidies, some argue, are passed on in aspects of the contract such as: the recovery of exploration costs, the granting of a plethora of tax waivers—often times referred to as foregone revenue— and agreeing to pay the company’s share of any applicable taxes, among other provisions.
Despite the situation at home, President Ali, in his address on Tuesday told the more than 130 World Leaders present at the conference that “even though we (Guyana) recently became and oil producer, we support the removal of subsidies from fossil fuel production and advocate a strong global carbon price.” As it relates to the carbon price and the payment for carbon services provided by ‘forest rich’ countries, President Ali called on COP26 to finalize the rules for carbon markets, “so as to properly value tropical forests and the climate services which they provide.”
To this end, the Guyanese leader in telling World Leaders of his country’s forest size—collectively larger than England and Scotland combined—pointing out that it acts as a carbon sink for some 20 giga-tons of carbon annually and as such should be incentivised. Meaning, be paid for its ‘carbon sink’ services provided.
COP 26 is being held under the auspices of United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Glasgow, Scotland in the United Kingdom (UK), and according to President Ali, “my country, Guyana is already playing its part in addressing Climate Change and will continue to do so.”
To this end President Ali told COP26, “we will maintain our forests, almost the size of England and Scotland combined, storing 20 giga tons of carbon as a global asset, we will work with local communities in conserving, protecting and sustainably managing our forests, biodiversity and fresh water supply.”
As such, he was adamant, “in recognition of the eco-system and climate services provided by forests, it is imperative that we finalize the rules for carbon markets and REDD+ (Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation) so as to properly value tropical forest and the climate services which they provide.”
According to the President, “forests constitute a powerful arsenal in the fight against Climate Change,” and as such, “forest rich countries must be provided with the incentives necessary to keep their forests intact and to reduce deforestation and forest degradation.”
Reminding that deforestation contributes 16 percent of annual global emissions, President Ali told COP 26, Guyana will decouple its “economic growth and emissions through a progressively cleaner energy mix, with the aim of reducing our carbon emissions by 70 percent by 2030.”
According to the Guyanese leader—addressing the international climate change confab—”we are at a historic moment in our civilization; history must not judge us as having only counted our losses, it must instead herald our efforts to confront one of our planet’s greatest threats; Climate Change.”
President Ali had prefaced his arguments to the World Leaders by warning, “the fate of civilization resides in the decisions we make here in Glasgow.”
This, since “the climate issue and crisis has given us an ultimatum; either we take immediate and drastic action or subject ourselves to an infernal global disaster.”
As such, President Ali used the occasion to caution that “indifference and inaction will be costly; already we are far behind in limiting temperate rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius, the coming decade therefore must be the decade of decisive action.”
To this end, President Ali argued that Climate Change “affects us all, rich, poor, developed and developing states but its effects are more severe on the poor and most vulnerable, especially Small Island Developing States (SIDs) and low lying coastal states. For us it is a question of survival.”
According to President Ali, “we can use this summit to change the present trajectory,” but immediate action on a number of fronts, including the setting of “more ambitious goals to reduce emissions and we must honour, to the letter, those ambitions.”
He was adamant that, all countries have an obligation to act, stating “but the world’s foremost polluters have a greater duty to institute steeper emissions cut.”
Additionally, President Ali told World Leaders that the pledge of US$100B per annum “made one decade ago to support climate action must be met.” According to President Ali, “dishonored pledges are a recipe for disaster.”
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